Kiffmeister’s #Fintech Daily Digest (12/26/2020)

Bitcoin Hits $25K for First Time Ever

Bitcoin blew through $25,000 and is pushing towards $26,000 driven by a Binance Futures short squeeze. Institutional investors are perceived to be driving this record-setting run. Among them: Anthony Scaramucci’s Skybridge Capital ($25 million in December); MassMutual ($100 million in December);  and Guggenheim (up to 10% of its $5 billion macro fund). 

Turkey to Pilot Digital Currency Next Year

Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey Governor Naci Ağbal reportedly told members of parliament on Friday that the country plans to pilot a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the second half of 2021. In 2019 the Bank announced that it was starting up a CBDC research and development program, and it reportedly established the Directorate-General Financial Innovation in November 2020 to carry it out. Ağbal said that the conceptual phase of this project has been completed.  

China’s latest central bank digital currency pilot doubles down

China’s latest central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot doubles down on the previous pilot, nudging merchants and consumers to embrace e-yuan. First the new system is easy to set up and use. Merchants simply download and app to their smartphones and connect the app to their bank accounts. Then they display a QR code that customers scan to make payments. Or, merchants can use point-of-sale machines that are updated to be compatible with the e-yuan. Either way, payments via e-yuan go directly into the merchant’s bank account without any fees nor commission, while WeChat Pay or Alipay charge a fee when withdrawing from the accounts. Also, payments can be made even without an internet connection. In addition, users are compelled to use the new currency because spending in e-yuan is connected with their social credit system scores.